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Artificial intelligence in Journalism: Implications on practices, profession and competencies

Artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning are transforming journalism around the world and potentially its role in democratic societies.

This dynamic half-day symposium, organized by the University of Gothenburg, the AI Competence for Sweden initiative, and Medier och Demokrati, brings together leading academics and industry practitioners to discuss and deliberate salient ideas and issues at the nexus of AI and journalism. This symposium pays particular attention to the implications of these new technologies on reshaping journalistic practices and ethics, professional boundaries, and new competencies.

Date: Tuesday October 22, 2019
Time: 11.00 – 16.00 (Registration starts at 10.30)
Location: Room Decibel
Lindholmen Conference Center
Lindholmspiren 5, 417 56 Gothenburg


Keynote speakers:

Daniel Nordström
A publisher’s perspective on AI and journalism

Daniel NordströmDaniel Nordström has been a journalist for 35 years. This means that he has been an active member of the professional community since the rattle of the typewriters filled the newsrooms. Today, he is editor-in-chief and publisher at VLT (Vestmanlands läns tidning) as well as publisher at a number of local newspapers in Sweden, like Bärgslagsbladet/Arboga Tidning, Fargesta-Posten and Sala Allehanda. Previously he was editor-in-chief and publisher at Folkbladet Västerbotten, Arbetarbladet, Länstidningen Södertälje, Norrtelje Tidning, Nynäshamnsposten and Avesta Tidning. Daniel has worked in top editorial positions within Mittmedia during the time when the local media group was intensively developing data- and robot-based journalism, services and many new ways of working, measuring and analyzing.

In his talk, Daniel will share his experiences and discuss how he looks at AI as a possible technology for journalism from his perspective as a publisher, driven by a passion for storytelling, democracy and freedom of expression.

Short interview with Daniel Nordström (in Swedish)

Carl-Gustav Lindén, University of Helsinki:
From artificial intelligence to augmented journalismKarl-Gustav Lindén

Associate Professor Carl-Gustav Lindén researches AI and journalism as well as news media business models. He works at University of Helsinki in Finland, Södertörn University in Stockholm and Nordicom, University of Gothenburg. He is also a researcher in the H2020 project EMBEDDIA. Lindén is co-author of the new WAN-IFRA World Association of News Publishers report, News Automation: The rewards, risks and realities of 'machine journalism'.

In his talk, Carl-Gustav Lindén focus on human-machine interaction in journalism, especially news automation. The key question is: What can or should be automated and what are inherently human tasks? Lindén brings forward a novel concept, “augmented journalism”, which differs from the idea of artificial intelligence and machines that are smarter than humans.

Parallel Sessions:

Session 1: Everyday practices of journalism
Cecilia Campbell

This session is dedicated to the discussion among participants about how AI is impacting and might impact everyday practices of journalism. The focus here is on sharing and gathering insights about what practically means and might mean in the future to automate some journalistic tasks in the news production flow, like writing and prioritizing news. Dilemmas and questions are very welcome to the table as well as first hand experiences and simply reflections.

The discussion will be preceded by an inspiring talk by Cecilia Campbell from United Robots, entitled "How robot journalism is supporting news publishers today". As Swedish newspapers are front-runners in terms of deploying automated content to support the publishing business, Cecilia will show how they use the technology to drive reader engagement as well as subscription and advertising revenue, while at the same time freeing up reporter time to focus on the more qualified journalism.

Short Bio
Cecilia Campbell is a media journalist who has covered the news publishing industry internationally for the past 20 years, living in the UK and Sweden. She is currently the International Product & Market Officer at Swedish tech company United Robots, which provides automated content services specifically created for newsrooms, using NLG and AI. Previous to joining United Robots, Cecilia worked as a consultant and writer for WAN-IFRA World Association of News Publishers. Cecilia has also authored a number of industry reports, including on Data Privacy, Ad Blocking and the 2017 iteration of WAN-IFRA’s World Press Trends. In 2018 she wrote Engaged Readers Don’t Churn – Retention Lessons for Digital Subscriptions, which gained international attention and has led to numerous consulting and speaking engagements at industry events around Europe. Cecilia Campbell holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Gothenburg.

Session 2: Ethics in transformation

Avery HoltonThis session is dedicated to the identification and discussion of ethical dilemmas - new and old - which might raise for publishers and journalists when using AI for journalistic work. The focus here is to discuss and reflect on the changing (or not-changing) norms of ethics in journalism and to share among participants ways of reasoning around and dealing with ethical dilemmas in AI-facilitated news production.

The discussion will be preceded by an inspiring talk by Avery Holton from the University of Utah, USA, entitled “Beyond Bots: Metrics, Analytics, and AI in the Newsroom”. This talk will consider the changing norms, values, practices, and ethics of journalists and technologists making use of web analytics, web metrics, and artificial intelligence in the journalistic process. Drawing on studies of web analytics technologists in the US and Europe as well as journalists and technologists making use of AI in the news process in the US, Canada, the UK, and Africa, this talk also considers how news production and journalistic identity are evolving in the face of technological and structural change.

Short Bio
Avery is an Associate Professor, Student Media Advisor, Journalism Sequence Coordinator in the Department of Communication, and recently appointed Vice Presidential Scholar at the University of Utah. His research and project developments focus on the intersections of journalism, digital and social media, and society. He also was selected as a 2018 National Humanities Center Summer Fellow and will serve in 2019 as an Oslo Metropolitan’s Digital Journalism Research Fellow. Avery served as the Director of Communications for the Triple-A Round Rock Express (then a Houston Astros affiliate) from 2006-2009 and as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram 2004-2005. His published journalism work has appeared in Time Magazine, the Houston Chronicle, the Austin-American Statesman, and other state and national publications.

Session 3: Developing competences

Tomas de SouzaThis session is dedicated to the discussion of what new competences are needed in news publishing organizations when and if AI is used for journalistic work. The focus here is on identifying what kind of knowledge is needed in order to responsibly use AI as a journalistic tool and to successfully organize collaborations between different domains of expertise, like journalism, design and programming. This is a very urgent issue not only in industry, but also in high education institution in order to prepare the next generation of journalists and media workers.

The discussion will be preceded by an inspiring talk by Tomas de Souza, consultant in innovation, leadership, and business development.

Short Bio
Tomas de Souza recently left a position as Director of Innovation at Bonnier News. Tomas has previously run companies in the area of media and digitalization, but went from an entrepreneurial life to an intrapreneurial life to actively contribute to media development and be a part of the extensive transformation that the industry is undergoing. Tomas de Souza is a consultant and lecturer in innovation, leadership, and business development. He works in the boundary between technology, business and product by concretising trends and insights about new business opportunities and making them realized.


10.30-11.00 Registration
11.00-11.15 Welcome address
11.15-11.45 Keynote 1
11.45-12.15 Keynote 2
12.20-13.30 Noon refreshments
13.30-14.45 Three parallel sessions with discussion/Q&As:

  1. Practice
  2. Ethics
  3. Competence

14.45 - 15.00 Break
15.00 - 16.00 Wrap-up panel discussion, final Q&A


Elena Raviola: elena.raviola@gu.se
Martin Homlberg: martin.holmberg@lindholmen.se
Sherwin Chua: sherwin.chua@jmg.gu.se

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Please state parallel session:

When you register, please state which parallel session you would like to attend in the box 'Message'!

Page Manager: Catharina Jerkbrant|Last update: 10/17/2019

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